RECORD REVIEWS MAY/JUNE 2005
Key: (LB: Lance Boyle)(MC: Mitch Cardwell)(JG: Jeff Greenback)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(PH: Phil Honululu)
(EL: Eric Lastname)(SSR: Scott Soriano)(SB: Steven Strange)
(TK: Todd Trickknee)
Air Conditioning "Bachelor Party" 7"
Last year, Air Conditioning was responsible for a very nice LP of semi-formless garage noise punk, similar to early Sightings but with even less structure. It was quite a listen and is unfortunately out of print. This year they are guilty of this piece of shit. Recorded on a DAT at a bachelor party, you get the sound of the band plugging in, making some pre-song noise, and then there is badly recorded noise - not good-bad in a low-fi or even no-fi way, but like a shitty practice tape. Flip it over and it is more of the same...until the DAT machine gets trashed. I am sure that this was all good fun and maybe even exciting while it was going on, but it makes for a useless record. Hopefully next time out, Air Conditioning will do something to justify documentation. They are certainly capable of it.(SSORIANO)
(White Denim // www.whitedenim.com)
Appreciation "Healing the Fatherwound" CD
Uhyuh - "Healing the Fatherwound." You heard me, "Healing the Fatherwound." Ahem. So this CD comes in a hand-sewn sleeve, and you have to "wreck" (HEALINGTHEFATHERWOUND) the packaging in order to get the CD out and, you know, listen to the music. Arty. Conjures up (HEALINGTHEFATHERWOUND) abstract paranoia and bedroom trips. Lots of incidental noise scrapings, loud (actually sorta rockin') (HEALINGTHEFATHERWOUND) grooves, bashing and beauty. The CD is such a navel-gazer...and the packaging/explanations enclosed (HEALINGTHEFATHERWOUND) are so pretentious it's nauseating...but I like it. But I'm like that. It's kind of a left turn at The Gris Gris, so if your wound needs fathering, or your father's heel needs winding, pick up "Healing the Fatherwound." (TK)
(On/On Switch // www.ononswitch.com)
Harry Balzagna & The Teenie Weenies ďFront Side GrindĒ 10Ē
First things firstóthis is a fucking beautiful record. It is one-sided, clear vinyl that is screen printed with images visible from both sides of the record (unlike that other silkscreened clear vinyl 12Ē that came from SoCal 25 years ago that only had an image that made sense if you looked at it through the grooves). This ranks high on the Ďcoolest looking recordsí list. Musically, there are three tunes that are a bit tighter than on the bandís 7Ē but still not worth raving about. There is a short hardcore tune sandwiched between an instrumental intro and a slower, trumpeted dirge that must be about ten minutes long. 300 pressed.(DH)
(Snack Attack // www.snackattackrecords.com)
Harry Balzagna & The Teenie Weenies ďSkate ArmyĒ EP
These seven SoCal skate anthems come packaged in a dayglo spray-painted and silkscreened package that is a much welcome change from the ever so common boring layout/shitty photocopy combo that is all the rage these days. The Weenies play some sloppy, tuneless hardcore thatís not quite fast enough to find itself labeled ďthrashĒ but is still a rough ride. Skate or die!(DH)
(Snack Attack // www.snackattackrecords.com)
Beat Beat Beat "Cheap Time" EP
White-hot platter of energetic punk from another in the line of great bands to pop up down in Atlanta that seems to be getting longer every day. These kids share members with both The Carbonas and The Frantic, and have some aspects of those bands as well, mainly a hardcore-like quickness and a knack for catchy tunes. "Savage Girl" is as good an example of sleazy power-pop gem-cutting that I can remember in recent years. The c-c-catchy c-c-chorus on "Not So Innocent" is responsible for me requiring to replace the needle on my turntable due to my need to listen to this song at least fifty times the week I got it. The tempo change on "Sick Sad" will make you wanna jump out of a moving car. "Cheap Time" sounds like The Carbonas armed with a fucking huge hook. All four songs are near perfect. Have I said enough yet? The vocals are remarkably young and snotty, the guitar playing is fantastic, the rhythm section sounds superb, the recording quality is perfect. Fuck. This one is competing for single of the year honors with The Dutchmasters and Tokyo Electron. Now go wipe my hyperbole off of your face and find a copy of this before I kill you. Scum stats: 600 copies total, about 100 of which have yellow/black covers because they ran out the red/black covers all the rest have. With fold out insert, on black vinyl. C/U: entire pressing.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // email@example.com)
Black Time "Beat of the Traps" EP
Two song offering from our favorite Brits, on the always hot Yakisakana label. "Beat of the Traps" has our Black Time friends adding The Cramps to list of bands whose gardens they stumble through, and it is a serious shot of ye olde goo-goo-muck chased with a snort of Electric Eels agitation. "Crawlin'" has the trio reverting to more traditional caveman garage-stomp mode, which they kick up that extra notch in the last minute or so, turning it into a real listenable freakout instead of just run-of-the-mill no-fi Pussy Galore worship. It ends with some heavy panting that is actually on the record, but could have been me after the first time I listened to this. Recommended. The Black Time also have a one-sided 12" due soon on P.Trash, to be titled "New Vague Themes". Scum stats: 500 pressed with the usual Bongout screened artwork. (RK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)
Black Time "I Spit on Your Lifestyle" EP
The fantastically named title cut does not live up to expectations for a band that released the best LP of 2004. It just kind of rambles and shambles without getting much going. The B-Side delivers the Black Time goods though. Although "Police State" was not the Crap Detectors cover I was hoping for, it is a less than sixty second fit of hypno-bass and wailing that segues into the next tune via some static/propaganda spewing. That next song is "Rocket Rumble", a really worthy tune, and perhaps one of their best. Slap-dash punkitude never sounded so good. The whole EP seems sort of obliquely socially aware, with cryptically black and white artwork consisting of flowers and a tiger, and keeps up the distant static-fidelity that made the LP sound so great. Also contains their trademark prosaic ramblings on the back sleeve, which always make for enjoyable reading. Worth getting for the all-too-brief B-Side. Scum stats: 300 copies on black vinyl, 50 copies on limited "White Heat" vinyl.(RK)
(Shake Your Ass // www.syarecords.it)
Blowtops "Mad Monk Medication" 7"
This record contains the last recordings to be released by what will come to be referred to as the "old" Blowtops, that being the line-up that still contained a bass player and lacked Tracy (ex-Concubine Forming) on vintage Yamaha organ. "Mad Monk Medication" is as catchy as Blowtops tunes get, and is the keeper on this slab. The B-Side is the usual slow-start-stop-guitar-noise-rinse-repeat freakout they did so well for so long, but it's nothing really new for them. It makes you glad they decied to reinvent themselves, and trust me, they are currently a better band than they have ever been. If you don't believe me, catch them on their soon to be happening West Coast jaunt with Tractor Sex Fatality and look for an LP of "new" Blowtops recordings on Big Neck soon.(RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
Col. Knowledge & The Lickity-Splits "Fall in Love all Over Again With..." CD
Even though the singer's voice is the feyest thing I've heard since ever, this is probably the most enjoyable album Alive sent over. It's really gay. Really really gay, but at least it's sorta wobbly-off and weird. Hard to describe actually, but I guess you can say 60's organ-led pop garage and not get pelted. There's a bit of indie yuckitude (alt-country?), and it's never gonna be on my regular rotation, but I'm not gonna beg for my hour or two back, either. I believe it may be Woggles related. (TK)
(Alive // www.alive-totalenergy.com)
Do you remember back in í85 when the punks all grew up and their music slowed down? Most folks never gave those records the time of day, but some of it is incredibly good. Take Toxic Reasons ďWithin These WallsĒ for example: itís an absolute post-punk masterpiece. Those records sat in cut-out bins for years until some of my peers started picking them up and realizing that it wasnít so bad after all. Complications are some of the folks who took a gamble on those records. The band draws influence from that US post-punk scene as well as bands like New Model Army, Siekeira, and their namesakes, Killing Joke. Their demo features ten songs of plodding bass and drums that are driving the songs. The guitars are somewhat secondary, and accent the rhythm section and create atmosphere. The music has an ominous tone lurking in the background that never quite rears its head. Complications are exploring grounds that havenít been covered recently, and the results are fresh and exciting.(DH)
(firstname.lastname@example.org // PO Box 64, Station C, Montreal, QC, HZL 4J7, Canada)
Country Teasers "Live Album" CD
Live albums never grab me. Documenting the live chemistry appropriately just doesn't seem too feasible to me. There's always a "had to be there" effect and it never pans out. However, being that the Teasers are one of my favorites, both live and on record, this disc is a glaring exception. It's important to note that the CTs live are privy to improvisational goofoff and that's the appeal -- this isn't rigid studio repetition, but songs take on new forms and melt into one another as Ben rattles off nonsequitors that are somehow very sequential and make total sense. They cover Randy Newman's "Short People" and it WORKS. They cover "Blue Monday" and it is pleasurable. They cover the Brainboms and I don't retch. How? Magic. The only explanation. I love this band, I love this disc, and I love you. That's why I'm doing you a favor by suggesting you grab this. (EL)
Every Country Teasers fan will tell you that there is nothing like a Country Teasers show. One of the best live bands I've ever seen, you would never think the same if you only caught the first half hour of their show. A half hour is what it takes the Teasers to warm up and slide into a groove and once they are in the pocket, you, the show goer, are in for a surrealist clown car of fun. Like all great surrealists, the Teasers are part farce, part "art," rooted in reality with a slightly skewed perspective. When they hit the hour mark, the Teasers hit greatness, but they still have yet to hit their peak. An hour & a half passes (you wouldn't know unless you checked your watch) and this clown car is more like some neo-psychedelic tank, and by psychedelic I don't mean crushing guitar solos or dippy-do meanders, but the feeling of looking in the mirror and the reverse image giving you the finger.
"Live Album" starts off like a Teasers show: it stumbles into existence. But, being that the average music purchaser isn't going to sit though a thirty minute warm up, the stumble quickly slides into the aforementioned groove and the elephants, dancing dogs, sword swallowers, and fire eaters emerge. The songs slide from one to the other, a disturbingly warped "Prettiest Slave on the Barge" morphing into a take on the Ultramagnetic MC's "Industry is Whack", which in turn becomes "Black Change Pt. 1" to the Butthole Surfer's "Moving to Florida" and a surprisingly effective version of Randy Newman's "Short People." And so it goes, complete with starts, restarts, mumbling, wit, sarcasm, and brilliance. The Teasers are one of those bands who can make you return to rock and roll after you've written it off as a stinking corpse, anus wide open and ready to fuck. And "Live Album" is a great record.(SSORIANO)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)
Curse of the Birthmark "Alibis" b/w "Call Your Lawyer" 7"
Welcome to this Bay Area trio's first record. It screams, it throbs, it falls apart. At times, it sounds like electroids crawling. Other times, it resembles a pulsating jackhammer. I can't think of anything more to write about this other than it gets better with every listen. Fans of Big Black, Le Shok, or like-minded tomfoolery will enjoy.(SSORIANO)
(333 Recordings // www.333recordings.com)
Deerhoof "Se Piangi, Se Ridi" 7"
These jokers lurk on the outer fringes of what I think of as punk, that expansive netherworld that once allowed the Birthday Party to co-exist with Black Flag. The first time I saw Deerhoof, I hated them. I thought it was pretentious arty bullshit soaked in schoolisms. As the days turn, I grow fonder of them and enjoy watching them twist and turn. On "Se Piangi..." they sit down between Patty Waters and the Lemon Kittens, skweeking and thudding something good. The flip is some dance crap that deserves about that little of a mention. (SSORIANO)
(333 Recordings // www.333recordings.com)
Digger & The Pussycats "Card Shark Annie" EP
I was intrigued by this band when I first heard their name bandied about somewhere on a message board. Australian two-pice madmen was the rap I was given on them, and since I have a soft spot for most things Antipodean, I put them on the short list of bands to check out. The ever busy P.Trash label provided my introduction to them with this single, and I had high hopes going in. The title cut definitley got me going. A thick slice of no-baloney muck, "Card Shark Annie" is propulsive sludginess that gave me a positive mental image of two Aussie-dudes just going bonkers all over the guitar and drums in a storm of sweat. Good shit, yes. But then the whole thing just goes to shit. "Sergi" sounds like a bad take on Jim Carroll's "People Who Died", which wasn't a good song to begin with. You know, roll call of "what-happened-to-all-our-fucked-up-friends", which, no matter how autobiographical it may be, will leave anyone limp. The B-Side is rote bash-boom-squelch-bad lyrics-feedback shinola that is all too common in the garage-rock underworld these days. One really killer song and some below average filler here. Color me underwhelmed. Scum stats: 500 on black wax. 100 of these are a "Special Edition" that comes with a live poster.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
The Dirtbombs "If You Don't Already Have A Look" 2XCD
Mammoth fifty-two song compilation of Dirtbombs singles, comp appearances, and a few unreleased nuggets. Mick & Co. have been the object of scorn on recent occassions (and I will confess I'm guilty of taking a shot or two at their expense), something I think can be attributed to a) anti-Detroit/White Stripes backlash, b) some people's dislike of Ben Blackwell, c) people who took Tom Potter leaving the band personally, or d) what some consider to be a general decline in their material. But, taking this collection on as a whole, I'm filled with warm thoughts of a band I at one point loved, and who released plenty of top notch material in their time. Reading the opening liners by Mick himself, you get a better sense of the Dirtbombs mission to date. They were, after all, conceived as a singles-only band, and have far outlived their original pre-determined shelf life. I'm not going to say they've never released a bad record, because they definitely have, but this collection does put things in a favorable perspective, and brings back some great memories: their prime line-up performance at the Rust Belt Revolt, "Ultraglide...", the SSLD single, the "All Geeked Up" EP, Potter's stage banter, Mick's unique sense of humor...the good moments far outweigh any recent disappointments. It's been nearly a ten year relationship we've had with this band, and one Mick insinuates may be ending soon, so I'm ready to remember the good times, and a lot of them are on this two disc set. As far as what's included, disc one is all originals, disc two is all covers, with next to no tracks from any of the full-lengths (unless you count 'Chariots of the Gods' as one). The only thing really exclusive that's missing are the recent Eno and Hitchcock covers, but I'm not one to complain. The liners by Mick and song-by-song narrative by the band are extremely entertaining and filled with humorous insight and are worth the price of admission alone. I know everyone looking at this site was into this band at some point, so give Mick some respect and fess up, no matter what you think of them now. I did, and I'm a better fanboy for it. (RK)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)
Dirty Fingers "The Name of the Game is Cocaine" 7"
I saw these dudes open for the Candy Snatchers some years ago, and they were a knockout. The lead singer split his pants after crashing into the drum kit and they just rocked out pretty hard. Just as enjoyable as the Snatchers in their prime. Well, it's like five plus years later, and they're still kicking it out, although I can't say I'm still istening. Actually, I don't know if I ever listened to the single I bought at that show. I'd go see them live anytime, but I can't say that I'm giving ear-service to the Mid-Atlantic/Junk Records twin guitar sleaze attack these days. I've heard enough (and better) songs about coke and sluts. The Assman Ono cover art looks great though. (RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
The Dissimilars "Jimmy's Room" EP
Six-song debut EP from these San Diego fellas which is just brimming with fun-loving garage-punk. I guess I'm obligated to mention this band contains ex-Tie Red Nate, former member of one of the best bands to come from NYC in a long while. Anyway, this EP is a perfect blast of giddy juvenalia-infused punk, played in an actual garage (the EP's title refers to the garage living space of the singer where it was recorded), with equipment I am sure was covered with duct tape and spilled beer. I'd pick a favorite song, but they're all equally good and sloppy entertainment. "Bury Me With My Record Collection" contains the line "If you want me dead/please kill me on a Sunday/because Saturday's for rock and roll", which I think perfectly sums up the aesthetic at work here. Charming, a little bit goofy, and defintely worth a pick-up as a soundtrack for those spring time BBQ parties. It ain't gonna change your life, but will make it a little bit better. Scum stats: 500 on black vinyl, with handy and entertaining lyric sheet/insert. (RK)
(Out of Order Records // www.outoforderrecords.com)
The Divebomb Honey 7Ē
I was digging through a distro box a few weeks back and pulled out this record because I thought the cover looked interesting. I asked the vendor how it sounded and was given the once-over; upon seeing my Discharge t-shirt she told me I probably wouldnít like the record. While Iím not thrilled on the assumption that one who likes Discharge wonít like wimpier tuneage, I heeded the warning and passed on it. Fast forward a few weeks when a review copy showed up in my mailbox. I threw it on the turntable and, well, good call, friend, because I didnít like it. I was reminded entirely of The Epoxies, who were great live (the first time I saw themó it was downhill after that) but didnít stick out on record. So if youíve got an Epoxies shirt hanging in your closet then this oneís for you.(DH)
Accompanying this record was a very nice note from the band, explaining a desire to have the record reviewed here, what bands the members are/were in, and explaining that two of the members got married on stage at their first show. It was addressed to me and I sincerely appreciate the personal touch and thank the band for sending me their record. I have listened to it and I request I be allowed to send it back now. Strip this record of the fuzzy keyboard and add a photoshopped sleeve and it could be anyone of those faceless, alternative rock 7Ēs that glutted bargain bins in the 1990s. The vocal style, the songwriting, and even the playing are generic and Dirtnap Records-inspired synths and striped shirts are not going to change that. Sorry, kids.(SSORIANO)
You know how Rip Off got a head of steam and after a while there were as many "Rip Off" records coming out on other labels as on the originator, and Rip Off-inspired bands popped up all over the land? I think this is now happening to the synth-punk-pop sound Dirtnap has (unintentionally) patented. This record is more proof, but think about this - Fliptops to Minds, Kill-A-Watts to Monitors, etc., and I even think this record comes from the Sweet JAP contingent. Punk into the new wave cycle. Been going on for a while, and the real noise right now is in the next (hardcore) re-jump, but new wave is still the big thing in the middleground, and don't you forget it. While I'm more of a fan of the p-rockers than this genre, The Divebomb Honey have one excellent tune ("Pants on Fire") and three good ones, so this is diggable. I'd say, if you like the Minds, this isn't that far of a jump. (TK)
(Jilted Records // www.myspace.com/jiltedrecords)
Dragibus "Tutti Frutti" CD
I am not a big fan of children, at least not American children. They are loud, obnoxious, and always in the way. They mug for the camera in ways that smack of obscenity. They suck. In fact, the only thing worse than the average American child is its parents. That said, I am very fond of children's records. Not pandering smurf or teletubbies crap. Nor do I dig Disney garbage. I like odd kids records, especially ones from the late 60s and early 70s. Around that time, adults started to think of kids as bright, spontaneous, imaginative creatures that do not need to be talked down to. Adults also tried to get inside the mind of the child, using pop culture as a hook to educate and entertain brats. The results are some pretty damn strange children's records, vinyl that treads easily between bubblegum, psychedelia, and circus music. My fave kids record is a bubblegum rock opera about a guitar playing elephant who becomes a rock star, falls in love with a groupie - who happens to be an ant - and moves to the moon so he and his new bride can love without gravity getting in the way. So cool is this record, that I actively seek out children's records.
A few months ago, when I was in Paris, the shopkeep of a record store named Bimbo Tower gave me a copy of his bands newest. The Band is Dragibus, and they make children's records. The line up is Lori, Mister Penguin, and Franqo-Rythmo. Dragibus have played in punk clubs as well as at the circus. Both kids and adults in France love them. And so do I. "Tutti Frutti" does everything I want a good children's record to do. It assumes the kid is smart, it is imaginative, and it is good listening. The songs are both basic and twist around your head. That Dragibus covers the Cramps' "Human Fly" and the TV Personalities' "Jackanory Stories", as well as songs by Liz Brady, Moondog, Masaaki Sakai, Johnny Hallyday and others just adds to the thrill. So is this punk rock? Hell, I don't know. It has plenty of punk elements (as well as bubblegum, tropicalia, ya ya, etc.) in it and if you are into punk rock, it is certainly something you can buy your brat so that you don't have to hear another fucking Raffi tune. I mean, why damage your kid with bullshit like the Wiggles, turning it into another sugar-feed, fat-assed, ADD-ed future criminal, when you, too, can revel in Dragibus? (SSORIANO)
(Autobus // www.dragibus.jp)
Epicycle "Teenage Suicide" LP
Probably the first essential Rave-Up reish since the Penetrators' "Kings of Basement Rock" LP. Late '70s Chicago masters of hard pop/punk/r'n'r come out blazing with the comped "You're Not Gonna Get It" and parlay it into a number of even better tunes, most notably the Damned-soaked "Underground" and the epic/anthemic "Hardcore Punk." "Radical Attitude," aside from boasting one of the greatest song titles ever, mines Boys-ish balladry and features Andew Ellis Clark's proclamation that he is, ahem, a "niggerwhitehonkeyjew, all wrapped in one." Retarded. Typical great packaging rounds out what is undoubtedly a necessary purchase for any KBD/Bloodstains/etc. geek or power-pop simp. Get on it. (EL)
(Rave Up Records // www.petrosh.it/raveup)
The Fall "Complete Peel Sessions: 1978-2004" 6XCD Box
Itís going to be pretty hard not to indulge in clichťs when reviewing this box, an event of staggering importance for any Fall fan. But clichťs, for better or for worse, are often distortions of cold, hard, unavoidable truths. Here are three truths - clichť as they may very well be Ė that I might as well get out of the way:
Re: Truth #1: For anyone who likes the prodigious, incredible output of Mark E. Smith, the set should be the cornerstone of your collection. Six discs cover all twenty four of the Peel Sessions, (with the added cherry on top of a bonus track), all spanning twenty six years of Smithís singular vision. Aided by the time constraints of a Peel session, Smith and his talented band of subservient cohorts are forced to focus, without the distraction of a studio or the limitations of a live performance.
- The box is essential for any fan of The Fall.
- The box is a perfect introduction for those of us unfamiliar with The Fallís massive output.
- The box is a fitting tribute to recently deceased Fall fan par excellance John Peel, who would by turns be both thrilled and filled with pride over said set of six CDs.
Re: Truth #2: For any potential buyers intimidated by the amount of Fall product crowding the racks at finer record stores, the complete sessions provide an ideal signpost for the morass of the crowded, confusing discography. í50,000 Fall Fans Canít Be Wrongí did an admirable job trying to compress the highlights of a long career whose core fans can debate over the relative merits of different tracks for years on end, but these six discs trump it through sheer volume.
Re: Truth #3: The late John Peelís abiding love of The Fall is encapsulated in one handsome brown sleeve.
Re: Yours truly. Iím a Fall fan. Iíve got around forty Fall albums sitting in my record collection, and that number is bound to increase. They are quite possibly the most interesting band that has come out of Punk, and I write those words knowing full well the gravity of that statement. Furthermore, after a slump in the early nineties, the Fall are now entering one of their most fertile periods. The recent ĎCountry On The Clickí, which excellent, was not worth the amount of superlative praise heaped on it, but what other band would release an electronic fuckaround with dollops of big guitar sound experiment like the underrated ĎUnutterableí, after being around for more then twenty years? Itís difficult discussing highlights or favorites in the face of such an intimidating track list, one that deserves many hours of listening before properly digesting it, but an early run through of "Put Away"? An ethereal, threatening "Pat Trip Dispenser"? The ringing, shimmering drone of "Garden"? Or what about some of the later sessions? The mean sounding Slade cum Brainbombs dirge of "What About Us"? Or the menacing gutter crawl of "Blindness"? Itís the sign of a great album when you canít even begin to pick the high points. Pick up this set, and hold it to your breast like a treasure chest, for it deserves nothing less.(PH)
(Castle Music // www.castlemusic.com)
Final Solutions "My Love is Disappointing" EP
Latest EP from the band a friend of mine recently referred to as "The best punk band in the US, hands down." While I'm unsure of the legitimacy of this comment as of press time, this EP and finally seeing them live has me swaying in the right direction. The double dose of stacatto punk on the A-Side is refreshingly simple, and borderline pop. Zac's vocal delivery is the perfect compliment to the no-frills intensity of the music. And the B-Side? Shit. Who the fuck saw a Pooh Sticks cover coming? Not me. And it's a brilliant (to say the least) version of "Sex Head', one of the their best. A curveball smacked deep over the left field wall. I've heard there's a ton of FS tracks in the can just waiting for release as well, which has me pitching a tent. Scum stats: 100 on green vinyl, 400 on black. (RK)
(Shattered Records // www.geocities.com/shatteredrecs)
The Flying Dutchmen "Winter Dunce Party Tour" EP
Live document of the world famous "Renton Sound" popularized by the Dutchies, released to coincide with their Euro tour. Recorded before an audience of tweleve in Albany, CA, these goofs kick, stumble, and bluster their way through four songs, starting with a cover of "In the Midnight Hour" on which they manage to hold their shit together pretty well. Things get sloppier and sloppier from there, until you hear them fall all over themselves on a version of "Land of 1000 Dances" on which I'm not sure they're all even playing the same song until they do the "Na-Na-Na-Na" parts. As the smoke clears after that debacle, you hear someone announce over the PA "Next up, the Bell Rays..." to which one Dutchman replies "The BellRays can't compete with us!" And sadly, that is so fucking true. We'll miss you guys. Scum stats: 500 copies with screened covers. (RK)
(Tear it Up Records // www.tear-it-up-records.com)
Gorilla Angreb ďAborted 2000" EP
Right about now, you should check the TB record review archives and read Hydeís informative history of the recent Copenhagen scene in his review of the first Gorilla Angreb 7Ē. Done? OK. This single, pressed in a scant 300 copies for the bandís recent West Coast tour (I missed them in Seattle, I blame my friends) has five songs from the bandís 2000 demo and comes off a lot more raw sounding than their outstanding debut EP (which has also just been repressed domestically by Feral Ward and is about as mandatory of a purchase as it gets). Maiís vocals are growled more than sung and the band sounds more like a less arty version of The Tyrades. Fans of the early LA/Dangerhouse sound, this band is for you. Supposedly, this singleís already out of print but a European version pressed in larger quantities is now out on Instigate Records. Also new from Gorilla Angreb is their split with Lokum, which Iíd review but thereís not much to say as the one Gorilla Angreb song is barely over a minute long. Itís really good too, as everything by this band seems to be. Track down anything you can by these guys before itís too late. (JG)
(Feral Ward // www.feralward.com)
Harpoon Guns s/t EP
The Harpoon Guns kick out the jams! This EP has 10 tracks of fast, lo-fi distorted hardcore. Listening to this, I keep thinking back to a local band from back home in Danbury, CT from a few years ago, and while I know itís pointless to say that this reminds me of the New Reagans, thatís all I can think of. The songs sound as though theyíre written by folks who grew up on NOTA, CIA, and any number of initialed bands. Silk-screened cover and 500 pressedÖ(DH)
(Snack Attack Recordxs // www.snackattackrecords.com)
The Hookers "Casting the Runes" 2XCD
For a brief few years back in the late-Nineties, The Hookers were genuinely a force to be reckoned with. They were easily the cream of the crap of the heavy hillbilly-rock movement that included the completely forgettable Nashville Pussy and Nine Pound Hammer among many others. They were punker, more lo-fi, shredded harder, and were far funnier than any of their comtemporaries. This set compiles most of the best of their good years (which to me includes much of what they did up to the "Black Magic Stallion" EP, including their first LP, which is the only Scooch Pooch record I will allow in the house), when they weren't playing the black metal/devil music card so heavily (and cartoonishly) as they did in their ill-fated less punk later days. The good stuff includes their self-released debut EP (remember when they were slated to be the next Crypt band?), the "Zombiemaker" and "12 Gauge Reaction" singles, and their finest moment, the tracks off of their Man's Ruin 10"/split CD (which I have never actually seen in it's vinyl form, and am not quite sure actually exists), which pretty well sums up their glory days. Disc One includes all of that (and some missteps like the totally awful Sub Pop 7"), and Disc Two actually comes up with some unreleased studio tracks that sound and feel as if they're from the "good" years. The rest is live stuff (some unreleased as well), plus some never before heard (for good reason) tracks from the "bad" years. If you already own the early records, those and the Rock'n'Roll Outlaw solo LP are just about all you need. This whole thing would've been much better with some detailed liners from Stoney Tombs or Adam Neal. Not really necessary unless you're a huge fan of all their work, which I'm not. There's reportedly a DVD compilation/documentary upcoming as well. (RK)
(Devil Doll Records // www.devildollrecords.com)
Howling Diablos "Car Wash" CD
One word: BLUESHAMMER!!! (TK)
(Alive // www.alive-totalenergy.com)
Human Eye s/t LP/CD
Yeah, it's Timmy V. from the Clone Defects, but you straight and narrow garage types who dug the CDs due to their frank r'n'r element are gonna run screaming with your ears covered this time around. And that's high praise. Human Eye are a whirlwind of Ralph Records gunk and primitive psych -- Chrome and Hawkwind in a punk rock rubber room mess. Bared metallic teeth in mangled snarl. Somewhat of a mindfuck. Mandatory. Essential, necessary, whatever. Note: If you booted the demos off of Soulseek, you're still missing out on some uncovered gems. (EL)
Oh Human Eye! How dost thou love you? Let me count the ways: First, this is really the best new thing I have heard all year. Second, this is as good as the Piranhas last record, which was the best new thing I heard last year. Third, fuck, who is counting and this counting thing is pretty lame anyway. Born from the demise of the Clone Defects, some say this picks up where the Defects left off. I dunno. The Defects became a pretty boring rock and roll band, yes, with a bit of a twist and better than a thousand other bands but still, nothing there made me want to own another rock and roll record. But this! Ah anything but boring. And it is not the fancy twists and turns and unpredictable lunges that thrill me, nor is it the obvious love for krautrock, free jazz, and Hawkwind that these guys have. No, it is that this has a frantic, adrenaline edge to it, kind of like the Ritalin got a quarter of a hold, strong enough to keep the kid focused but not enough to keep him from running up the walls. Mate that image with a paint fight and you are getting close. If the modern day psychedelic crowd werenít too stoned to notice this and invite it in their circus tent, Human Eye would poke the elephant with a stick, sending him on a rampage that tripped up the flame eater, who would explode setting the tent on fire. Flaming canvas would fall on the crowd as the Human Eye hijacked the clown car and drove off waving. This is that good.(SSORIANO)
The Human Eye Timeline
(Note: all times are approximate estimates.)
Fall 2003: The Clone Defects break up. Word on the street is that the dissolution of the band is due to "musical differences." Supposedly Timmy wanted to do more esoteric, out there shit and the other guys just wanted to rock. Reliable sources report Tim is putting together a new outfit called Human Eye. Rampant speculation as to what they sound like begins.
Late 2003/Early 2004: Human Eye starts playing shows. Early reports claim they sound "great but nothing like the Clone Defects." When pressed for more details, eyewitnesses are unable to give much in the way of concrete information. Instead they usually just stammer, "You have to see them to understand. They aren't at all like the Clone Defects though."
October 21, 2004. 11:00 AM CST: After reading the umpteenth account of how Human Eye sound nothing like the Clone Defects (which naturally contains absolutely zilch in the way of a description of what they actually DO sound like) I, Steve Strange, make a post on the Terminal Boredom message board (obviously not the best place to go when you're on a quest for knowledge) pleading for someone to describe what Human Eye sounds like, not so much because IĀfm desperate to hear them or anything, but more because I am SICK AND FUCKING TIRED of reading and hearing "they're great, but they sound nothing like the Clone Defects" without any further description each and every time their name gets brought up.
October 21, 2004. 12:15 PM CST: Terminal Boredom's own Matt Coppens, at the time a resident of Human Eye's home state of Michigan (he has since immigrated to Boys Town, Chicago, where if you go to IHOP after bar close you have a better than 50/50 chance of spotting him with his pants down), replies to my query with something to the effect of, "I can't explain it. Live they're a total mess. They sound nothing like the Clone Defects at all. Really noisy and unstructured. Every time they play the sky rains octopus tentacles (NOTE: this line was written BEFORE the 2005 Blackout; just call me TB's version of Gary "You ARE Mr. Wonderful" Spivey) and whale semen while Timmy spits up a milkshake of circuit breakers and dumpster juice as the rest of the guys astral project the spirits of Beefheart, Bators, and Phillip K Dick out their collective assholes." I might not be remembering that last part correctly, but you get the idea.
October 21, 2004. 12:15 PM - 3:48 PM CST: Every goon on the TB board recites the by now infamous mantra: "they're great, but sound nothing like the Clone Defects."
October 21, 2004. 3:49 PM CST: Todd Tricknee, another fellow TB staffer, replies that Human Eye actually DOES sound like the Clone Defects, particularly stuff like "Eyeballs Poppin'" on the first record.
May 13, 2004. 9:03 PM CST: I, Steve Strange, utter three words I never thought I'd say: Tricknee was right. Human Eye DO sound a lot like the Clone Defects at their most fart-damaged and visceral, but there is something else going on here that places this record in a higher echelon than either of the Clone Defects el-pees. The songs run the gamut from hyped-up, outer-space punk riffs to clunky stop-start tribal blasts to out of tune squeaks and bleats from a drunken-jazzbo's trumpet, often within the same song. Timmy's songwriting is at its absolute best here, and songs like "Episode People" and "Girl Named Trouble" are destined to become encoded in the DNA of oddballs everywhere for years to come. If repeated exposure to this record doesn't leave you craving more like a toothless junkie who has tapped every vein, I think it's time to ask yourself just what kind of music it is that you really are into, because it certainly isn't punk rock.(SB)
(In the Red Records /// www.intheredrecords.com)
Indian Jewelry "In Love With Loving" 7"
Typically strange and off-beat release from On/On Switch (home of our pal Joeee Domino), and a lot better than I'd hoped. I'm generally not one for Suicide-worship, but this does the job just fine. Actually reminds me a lot of Royal Trux as well, so much so that I pulled out 'Twin Infinitives' for a walk down memory lane. I refiled it about five minutes later. I'll stick with Indian Jewelry reminding me of them.(RK)
This comes with quotes comparing Indian Jewelry to the Butthole Surfers (think early on, of course), and that does come through on the title track, which has a big, loping AmRep groove. "Climbing the Walls" reminds me of Jessamine, or any other dreamy psych rock band from the same time period. Haunting, ethereal, and whatever else ya' wanna add. "Lost My Sight" is Suicide all the way. If someone had told me this were a 3-band comp, I mighta' believed 'em. Oh, and throw some Spacemen 3 in there, too. Great record! (TK)
(On/On Switch // www.ononswitch.com)
Inepsy "City Weapons" LP/CD
This is the second LP by these Quebecan students of MotŲrhead. I am a die-hard fan Ďtil death of this band (hell, magic marker Inepsy tattoos were part of the courting process with my lady and I), but Iím not going to throw out my unqualified endorsement for this one. Thatís not to say that I donít love it, because I do. Inepsy are at their best when everything is as over the top as can be: When youíre a drunken mess and theyíre playing to you in a basement with a 50 person capacity (and there are 150 people trying to fit in). Parts of this LP are true to that: the bright reddish/yellow gatefold sleeve, poster insert, etc. The music itself is straight worship of MotŲrhead and ďSee NothingÖĒ era-Discharge, and they do it as well as anyone. The recording does the songs justice, but thereís something missing here thatís present in those over the top live shows. Now that Iíve qualified it, I give this record my full endorsement. But you really need to see them on an ďonĒ night to get the full experience.(DH)
(Feral Ward // www.feralward.com)
The Innocents 7"
I have no idea who this kids are. The only info I could muster is that they're from Portland (natch) and have an ex-Observer in their midst. Musically, it's good-to-middling adolescent stumble-punk stomp, showcasing a predeliction for Red Kross (in spirit, not exactly in sound) and bottom of the barrel recording. It sounds like the band is playing while the singer belts it out locked in the closet in the next room over. Fairly interesting, but I wonder if it's just because of my collector scum instincts reacting to both the band's obscurity and the record's rarity. At least it's on Jonny Cat, and not some ultra-rare Euro imprint. Buy American! Scum stats: 127 hand-numbered copies on green vinyl with screened cover and small insert. Rumor has it there is another pressing to be (or already?) released by the band on a different color of vinyl. (RK)
(Jonny Cat Records)
King Khan & His Lonesome Guitar "Ugly Women" EP
This single is just what it says, our man Khan doing the OMB thing that is all the rage lately, and he makes a pretty good go of it. "Ugly Woman" is a subdued little Chuck Berry-ish bopper, telling the tale of Khan's run-in with an ugly woman whom he thinks might have a little more in "her" pants than he wants. And I think he even breaks out with a kazoo solo toward the end. Lotsa fun. On the B-Side Khan brilliantly recycles what seems to be almost the exact same song, maybe plus/minus a note or two, but this time changes the lyrics to "Run Blacksnake Run". He's not trying to outdo BBQ here or anything, trust me. This is just a really fun record from a really funny guy. Hilarious artwork too. Scum stats: this is the reason Goodbye Boozy is my favorite singles label: "300 press, no color vinyl, no different artwork, lo-price" are Gabriele's selling points on all his singles. And that's OK with me. (RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // email@example.com)
Knugen Faller "Inte Som Ni" 7"
Hereís the second EP from Umeaís finest. This extended-player has got four more tunes of stellar Swedish stylings that manage to blend pop with punk without sacrificing either. This time around thereís a more prominent saxophone than on the first EP, but itís subtle enough that it wonít upset anyoneís ďno sax in punkĒ sensibilities. Thereís no doubt in my mind that Knugen Faller will be the next big European band hyped by US punk fans, as No Hope For the Kids and The Regulations were embraced by folks last year. Really, everybody should pick these up.(DH)
(Wasted Sounds // www.wastedsounds.com)
Mercenary God "Burning Generation" LP
Hereís another mystery reissue that makes me want to hug whoever discovered this recording. My knowledge of Mercenary God is strictly limited to what I can figure out from the sleeve of this record (no insert or further info): They were an Italian trio who recorded 11 songs in 1981 that vanished into obscurity, and the drummer was either blessed by god or stuck a pear down his pants right before the photo shoot for the album cover. The music here is outstanding thug-punk that has a similar feel to the debut Cock Sparrer album (the one before ďShock TroopsĒ when they still worshipped Slade), Germanyís Pack, or early Pekinöka Patka. The album opens up with a slag off to disco thatís probably a few years too late, but is as good as anything that was timelier. The side continues with five more mid-paced anthems. The flip has three tracks in the same style, but adds a few slower, Joy Division inspired tunes. Albums like this serve as a great reminder that there will always be brilliant punk recordings hiding under beds waiting to be found.(DH)
(Big Star Rolling Records // firstname.lastname@example.org)
Minimal Man "The Shroud of..." CD
Once the Screamers got dragged from the collector geeks closet and presented to the masses, synth ceased to be a dirty word. Suddenly, idjits were paying big money for almost anything that had a synth on it and was recorded in the late 70s/early 80s. It didn't matter if it was so-so new wave or extreme distopian punkness, synth was in. However in all the fuss, somehow Minimal Man got overlooked. Part of the post-apocalypic, San Francisco synth scene (Tuxedomoon, Chrome, Nervous Gender, etc.), Minimal Man sounded pretty much as their name suggests. The sound is stark and it is made by one man, Patrick Miller, and a few pals (often Tuxedomoon). Miller released a couple 7"s and two albums. It is the first album and the two 7"s that are here (no need to include "Safari", as it blows). Drone, throb, sputter, scream, everything is here except the beeps (thank god). If you have a yen for empty parking lots filled with animal corpses or just want to spend an evening alone with a guy in a pretty bummed out mood and backed by pretty tasty sounds, find this. At the very least, it will give you another reason to hate the bands of today who rip this shit off and do such a bad job at it.(SSORIANO)
(Boutique Label // www.ltmpub.freeserve.co.uk/ltmhome.html)
Ms. 45 "Pop!" 7Ā"
Side A, Needle Down: Pretty good energy on the verses, female vocals also sound really nice. Hey this is pretty good. Uh oh...here comes the chorus and it ain't pretty: "Yadda Yadda Yadda" ad nauseum. Why couldn't they have just said "Yeah Yeah Yeah" instead? It would have been 100% more rock n roll and less-Seinfeld if they went that route. Next song: I'm getting the impression that these guys don't think like me and they never never never wanna be like me. Might be because that's all they're saying over and over (and over) again on this song. C'mon guys I know I'm a harsh reviewer and all, but am I really that bad?
B-side: "Easier" sounds like something Timbo would've been hyping like nuts back in those old Mutant Pop catalogs, like if that Big Hello "Cynical Girl" single had a B-side as good as the title cut. Really good hooks, catchy chorus, and cool lyrics. Hey, this next song ("Spin") isn't too bad either. Energetic guitar work, more nice hooks, and nary a lame-bit in sight. Yeah, good stuff.
Let's call it a middle-of-the-road C for the A-side and a solid B on the (appropriately titled) B-side. If these guys carry on in the vein of the two better songs on here they could be really good someday. Scum Stats: 200 Copies Pressed on clear vinyl. (SB)
(Ms. 45 // www.ms45.net )
Mummies of the Insane s/t CD
Billy Syndrome is one of my favorite contemporary individualistic rock and rollers. His roots and template are punk rock, but his personality is so infused in everything he does that there is no mistaking his stuff for anyone else, even when he goes by a different name. Here, Billy is joined by MJB and dubbed Mummies of the Insane. The pairing results in Billy's humor and psychedelicisms being augmented by even more psychedelic-ness, some devolution, and a bit more modern tech than I am used to hearing from the Slutfish camp. Like nearly all Syndrome releases, this isn't 100%. I would throw out about a quarter of the songs, but a three-fourths success rate is damn good. And also like all Syndrome releases, this is one of those things that you would pick up blind because of the homemade/DIY look to it, bring it home and be very pleased with what you have found.(SSORIANO)
(Slutfish Records // www.slutfishrecords.com)
Nervous Patterns "You Can't Change" 7"
Two track single, and most likely the last we'll ever hear from this Jay & Alicja project. I'm not even sure when these songs were recorded, if they were left-overs that didn't make the LP or were recorded separately after the fact, but they're both very different. Dueling tracks, sort of, but that may be romanticizing things a bit. Jay's cut is his traditionally paranoic herky-jerk robot wave-punk with some throat-wrenching demon screams punctuating the attack. Alicja's track recalls "Green Mind"-era Dinosaur Jr.-ish indie-punk, minus the wah pedal, and plus some sweet vocals and handclaps. Very telling of where they're going post-Lost Sounds as well: Jay, back to the brutality of The Reatards and the punk of the Final Solutions, and Alicja to the indier Mouserocket and RCTL. I had a vision of the Nervous Patterns continuing on in the post-Lost Sounds future as I listened to this, with Jay and Alicja each contributing a song for a series of singles, battle-to-the-death duel style until one of them explodes. Will it happen? Never, but hey, no matter where they go or what they do next, we'll always have the memories. Or at least the records. Scum stats: 500 copies on one-sided clear red vinyl, artwork by Alicja.(RK)
(Zaxxon Virile Action // www.zaxxonmailorder.com)
The Nice Boys ďYou Wonít See Me AnymoreĒ 7Ē
This is ex-Riffs and Exploding Hearts members doing power pop, with the emphasis on the pop. While thereís nothing overtly offensive about these songs, they donít come anywhere near to matching the greatness that was the Exploding Hearts. The b-side ďLipstick LoveĒ is my pick of the two and sounds like something that Travis Ramen would be involved with. An OK, albeit totally wimpy record, but not at all essential unless you need every power pop record that comes out. Their haircuts are awesome. (JG)
(Discourage Records // members.aol.com/discurge)
Jeffrey Novak One Man Band "Fire in the Hole" EP
Third single from this kid, and it's another head turner. The A-Side, "Static Nightmare", is Jeff's punkest offering to date, a sub-two minute cooker that Blag Dahlia should listen to to remind him what good Dwarves tunes used to sound like. If they were played by a teenage one-man-band, that is. The B-Side will put some sweat on your brow as well, with two more tracks of guitar static and drum bash that go down well with beer or hard liquor. I've said it before, this kid can write some catchy trash and hes got all the enthusiasm and energy to pull it off. Recorded live with no overdubs and dedicated to Cordell Jackson as well! You can't go wrong here, whether you be Gibson Bros.-worshipping garagester or Reatards-influenced scum-punker. Scum stats: 494 copies, four different colored silk-screened sleeves, with silver on black being the rarest.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
Jeffrey Novak One Man Band "Go Way Out" CD-R
Tour CD-R Jeff cranked out for his recent jaunt through the Deep South. Lots of hits, including a sharp cover of "Nothing Can Bring Me Down" (a different version of which will appear on the LP), two versions of title cut, a rollicking run-through of "Mad Lover", the Drags-y "Stabbed in the Back", "Teenage Psycho" the title cut of the next 7" (on NZ's Perpetrator Records), and a whole lot more that's worth your time. Scum stats: limited to 152 copies for the tour, some may still be available. Act now, as Jeff's previous CD-R's are no longer available. (RK)
(Sonic Assault Records // email@example.com)
Jeffrey Novak One Man Band "Southern Trash" LP
I'm gonna declare young Mr. Novak the ultimate punk-rock OMB right now. I know when I hear OMB, I first think of the Haze and more traditional (yet still unhinged) garage-a-billy antics. But with his first full-length (which will mark the fifth record he's had released in less than a year) Jeff turns out something sounding close to a third Reatards LP. His vocal screech is quite reminiscent of Jay's own, and the blown-out abrasiveness of it all recalls 'Teenage Hate's under-21 and bangin my head (and guitar) against the wall vibe. "Nothing to Do", "Back Off", the locomotive title cut, and a healthy handful of others all replicate the Memphis skulk of the 'tards, and keep plenty of hiss and crash in the nooks and crannies to keep it dirt-fi. "Kick the Door Down" is the one exception, and that's becuase it sounds just like a Persuaders outtake. A pretty solid LP, although you might have to take it a side at a time to prevent overload. Christgau gives this debut full-length a solid A. Scum stats: not sure yet, but I'm sure P.Trash will have some goofy variations on the vinyl when it finally comes out.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
The Observers "Walk Alone" EP
A lot of kids were flipping their lids over this band, and I just didn't get it. The 'Lead Pill' EP didn't turn my head and the LP left me half awake. This one here, I kinda like. The A-Side actually reminds me of The Damned (post-Brian James Goth era) with some beach punk flourishes thrown in. B-Side is a Wipers via SoCal punk anthem, with some 'whoa-whoa'-ing in the chorus. Even includes a mosh-part tempo change so you know when to start pitting harder and do some fist pumps. Cool enough to get me to give the LP another chance, and it's definitely the best of three Jonny Cat records reviewed in this issue. Scum stats: fairly confusing. 750 copies total pressed (with another pressing to be coming soon), 200 of which are on kind of a powder blue marbled vinyl. Colored ones are numbered as 1-200A, the rest I believe are numbered in separate editions of 350 and 200. All with screened covers and insert. Seems to indicate three different pressings, but I think they may have all been done at the same time. Don't quote me on that. Your best chance of getting these things is from our pal over at Know Crap!, by the way.(RK)
(Jonny Cat Records // www.theobservers.org)
Pedestrians 7" EP
This EP from Chicagoís Pedestrians is one of the better debut records Iíve heard in a while, and it survived the uphill task of being as good as their standout demo from last summer. Thereís something distinctly ďChicagoĒ about this record, due in part to the fact that youíd think they could have been on a bill with Naked Raygun and the Effigies in the mid-80s. The music has that sort of sound (not too fast bass driven melodies) that the better Chicago groups did so well (though Iíd add the Adolescents as another point of reference for these car-less lads). Likewise, the working class, trapped feeling lyrics present a backlash against the American way of life that reminds me of the Windy City lyric sheets of yesteryear. The Peds are rumored to be recording an LP in the coming months, so watch out!(DH)
(Southkore Records // 2814 S. Spaulding; Chicago, IL 60623)
The Ponys ďCelebration CastleĒ CD/LP
It took me a long time to warm up to this. Itís my own fault, really, as my expectations were set way too high. ĎCelebration Castleí doesnít come close to matching the brilliance of The Ponysí earlier records, but thereís enough here to make it a recommended purchase. The band still writes really basic songs that work their way into your brain and plant themselves there permanently. I catch myself humming some of these songs everywhere I go. If youíve seen Ďem live in the past year then youíve already heard a lot of the stuff here, like ĎGlass Conversationí, which is clearly a great song but the Albini production has removed some of its rawness, which came across live. Also, the sequencing on this thing makes absolutely no sense with the first half dragging before picking up on the second half. All bitching aside, while this didnít sweep me off my feet and rocket me off to pop paradise like I wanted it to, itís still a good record and any band that can write songs like ďGet BlackĒ is still gonna be a favourite of mine. (JG)
The first alb was good, real good, but for whatever reason lost me after five-six listens. Maybe because it was just too damn long. "Celebration Castle" benefits from some brevity and the new songs hit the Bunnymen/Furs vibe more heavily than the Cure swipes. Ergo, it tops the predecessor and is still, after a solid month of repeated listens, in the stereo and played regularly. Another hit from a band that deserves the praises.(EL)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)
Popular Shapes "B-Ball Music" 7"
I think by now, the Popular Shapes have achieved the astounding accomplishment of releasing more records while dead than alive. This two song 7" comes out nearly a year after that great Seattle band's demise. So the question is, as it should be with all posthumous releases, is this record barrel scrapings by some over enthusiastic fan or is the music in the grooves worthy of release? Well, yeah, sure. The song on side one, cleverly named "Song 2," is certainly a keeper. It reminds me of that brief moment when hardcore bands in the early 80s got bored of playing fast and made one record of great, warped punk rock, i.e. SST Records circa 1984. Or if you want the ol' band comparison: Think the A Frames if they were into prog rock. The flip, again an imaginative title ("Song 4"), isn't as good. It starts off boring then gets loud and stays boring and then it gets softer and louder and softer and....somewhere in there is about 10 seconds of something interesting but there really is no difference between Song 4 and any number of lame indie loud/soft bands of the 1990s. Still, this is worth the pick up for the a side alone.(SSORIANO)
(White Denim/Hate the 80s // www.whitedenim.com)
Purple Wizard ďIíve Been WrongĒ 7Ē
One Hollies cover and one Everly Brothers cover sung by two guitar wielding girls (shown on the nice pic sleeve) backed by a stripped down rhythm section. I know nothing about this band and the recordís a tad short, but the 60s-rínír plus girl pop retro sound is pulled off so well that Iím now on a hunt for their full length. Shane White jizzed his pants over this. (JG)
(Show and Tell Recordings // www.showandtellrecs.com)
Real Losers "Music For Funsters" LP/CD
I liked the Losers' first LP quite a bit, but this, their sophomore effort, just ups the ante by a re-fucking-cockulous degree. All of the trademark hyperactictive- teenagers-off-their-ritalin-and-on-too-much-booze energy they're known for can be found here in abundance, but they've added on heaps of melody and gobs of hooks, making this a canĀft miss concoction for any summer time parties you might be thinking about crashing. Hit singles? You're kidding me right? This whole album is fucking top of the pops from start to finish. One question remains however: just what exactly is a "funster." I'll have to corroborate this with the band, but my guess is that it involves getting yourself three sheets to the wind on Sparks at the aforementioned party, listening to the first Ivy Green album way too loud while some girl you just met sits on your lap, somehow deciding that dancing naked is a good idea, and in mid-depantsing some goofball kicking you ass first down a flight of stairs. Laying there in a drunken heap at the bottom of the stairs, your pants around your ankles and the strains of someone fucking to Teengenerage in the bedroom above you mixing with the sound of a bunch of people singing along to Protex in the basement youĀfve just landed in, you realize you have to be up for work in three hours. Naturally, you get up, slide out of your pants, walk up the stairs, get another sparks, and invite the girl to come "take a load off" on your lap. If you've ever had a night like that, or even if you want to, I think you just might be a funster, and as such this is the perfect record for you.(SB)
(Alien Snatch // www.aliensnatch.de)
(Trickknee Productions // P.O. Box 12714 Green Bay, WI 54307)
Reatards "Plastic Surgery" EP
For everyone waiting on Jay to get back into full-on hate-punk mode, I think we are seeing the tip of the iceberg here. Jay plays everything on these recordings, a studio one man band version of The Reatards, and on the A-Side it sounds like he's getting warmed up. The venom and spite are there as are the scum punk chops, but it's just not quite over the top enough yet. On the B-Side everything clicks. "Human Race" has him raving about "never falling in love again" because "the human race makes me sick". Now, there, that's the sort of bile-spewing we expect, and I'm sure he's got quite a bit more built up. The music accompanying the lyrics is fittingly raw and bleeding. It's that sort of soul-baring rage that made the original Reatards so formidable, and although the hate isn't exactly teenage anymore, Jay still knows how to channel it into some great rock'n'roll. Jay Jay ends the EP with a cover of the Persuaders "Left for Dead" that finds him doing a fine King Louie impersonation. I love Persuders covers. This one's better than the "Monster Child" EP, and hopefully more representative of the all new Reatards LP supposedly in the works. Scum stats: 500 pressed, with 100 of them on red vinyl.(RK)
(Shattered Records // www.geocities.com/shatteredrecs/)
The Sack-O'-Woes "Baby, I'm Born Old" 7"
A couple older Dutch gents who were in hardcore bands in the early '80s pick up a youngster drummer and kinda' play a garagerawk version of straight-up punkeroo. It's OK, but I'll bet Coppens would get a flopper over it. (TK)
(Looprekords // www.geocities.com/sackowoes)
Sexy Prison "Italians Who Just Saw Rocky" LP
Just as the inventors of the internet never envisioned that its primary use would be lonely men downloading pictures of Russian teenagers getting plowed, I doubt that the pioneers of techno, nu metal, and electroclash would have ever figured that a couple of smart ass punk rockers would sprawl silliness over those soulless worlds. Like Nazis from Mars or Atari Teenage Riot, Sexy Prison takes digital technology and filters it through a punk mind frame. But unlike NFM or ATR, SP does not rely on pop or power, but instead on punk rock's built-in flippancy and what-the-fuck attitude. What they create with this attitude is an odd mesh of, well, shit, I don't know what it is a mesh of. In fact, it is hard to pin down what this stuff is or sounds like. There is a bass, there are vocals and there are programmed drums. What they do is the problem. Not a problem as in "We have a problem here," but in "I have a problem in that I don't have an angle on this." So they get points for eluding my grasp. They also get points for maintaining a sense of humor without being (mostly) obvious about it. And more points for making me want to listen to this more than twice (I am up to about ten). Granted at listen three, I skipped forward a couple songs, as this thing starts slow. I also am tempted to record this into the hard drive and then distort the hell out of it. But me wanting to tweak this also gives Sexy Prison points. Hell, too many records inspire me to do little more than sell them. So I guess this calls for the reviewer's conclusion, the verdict that guides the purchasing choices of you, the consumer. Hell, what the fuck? Buy it. At the very least I guarantee you won't have a record like this in your collection. And if you give it a few listens and are open to a punk twist on bass and beats you might really dig this.(SSORIANO)
(Nascar // www.sexyprison.com)
SLA "Sonic Love Affair" CD/LP
Contrary to popular belief, I don't spend all my listening time grooving to some dork gargling to another playing a 5/76 beat. I like it when the yuks try to push their boundaries, but would much rather listen to something I've heard done before done right, than the aforementioned yuks failing in their attempt at art. After all, music is there to be enjoyed, not punished with. So when a band comes along that does the rock and roll thing and does it good, I'll give them a listen. In this case that band is Sacramento's SLA. I've seen these guys live and it is good, loud punk rock and roll. No revelations but a good night out. Now listening to their first album, I think more of the same nice thoughts. Like a lot of bands nowadays, these guys start with a 60s punk template, push through the NY Dolls to 77 punk and into some 90s Bag of Hammerisms. And like a lot of bands, they happily juggle rock and roll clichťs (I counted about 10 "little girls" before I gave up on that list). What puts them apart are a few things: The singer is from the Sky Saxon school of sneer, something very rare today. The aforementioned clichťs do not take over and are not soaked in irony. And, whether intended or not, the jumping off point for these guys sounds like the Easybeats, a very nice surprise. Listening to this I kept thinking, that sounds like Mick Ronson. And then I realized that I was really hearing Mick Ronson on Bowie's Pin Ups, specifically his cover of Friday on My Mind. Which then lead me to hear the Saints, which is understandable, them being big Easybeats fans. So combine all that and you have a good debut and a record that stands a bit above the standard 1-2-3-4 Let's Rock fare. (SSORIANO)
(Dollar Record Records // www.dollarrecord.com)
The Sores "Six Songs of Despair & Frustration" LP
When I saw an early incarnation of the Sores about 3 years ago, it was one of the most painful musical experiences I ever had. Not because it was loud or because I got hit by flying shrapnel. It was simply because the Sores sucked in every way imaginable. The band seemed like it was thrown together the day before. The songs were attempting to be some kind of blues-punk thing, but lacked anything of interest or even one slightly memorable riff. And the front man had some stupid homemade microphone headset on that worked half the time and fedback when it did. That front dude rolled around a lot which added to the dismalness. The Sores were not even so bad they were good. They just sucked.
That was three years ago. Today I am the proud owner of the Soresí first full-length, a six song pleasure chest of focused fucked-upness. Gone are the blues-punk pretensions, and here instead is something that sounds much more like the real blues, without sounding like it was recorded on some prefab suburban back porch, or even sounding like ďThe Blues.Ē Nah, this is raw, dark, demented shit; a twisted soul nightmare that you canít really dance to but it still makes you move. "Six Songs ofÖ" sounds like the retard kid brother of the Brainbombs, Liimanarina, and Karate Party. It is ugly, it is dumb, and it is great. This Sores record is like a scab you want to pick. Hunt it down. (SSORIANO)
(Borax Records // www.thesores.com)
The Stoneage Hearts "Guilty as Sin" CD
Man, this is so far up the Now Wave alley that I can hear Rutledge weeping for joy halfway across the country every time I hit "play." It's sugary pop garage, and well done, yes...but I feel like I'm a douche every time I'm listening to this instead of that Regulations single which is never more than 15 feet away from my record player. Awful (awful) lyrics, the kind where you know what the next rhyme is gonna be as soon as you hear the first line. The songs are definitely catchy, and the production serves nicely, but after a couple songs I develop a goddamned toothache and need a brain palette cleanser. You already know if you'd like this, so act accordingly. (TK)
(Alive // www.alive-totalenergy.com)
Straitjacket "Enemy" EP
Another band I knew nothing about until I got this record. I'm just gonna assume their from PDX and own a couple copies of 'Inflammable Material' between them. Snarly beach/street punk is their game, and the A-Side is actually pretty catchy if you dig say, Swinging Utters and gang choruses. "You're my...EN-A-MEEEE..." is a predictable, if somewhat likable refrain. The B-side is...just bad. These dudes could sell thousands on TKO or BYO. What's that? TKO is releasing their full length? No way. Let me check their website...oh yeah, you're right. Hey, they're doing an FM Bats 12" too! Now that one will be worth getting. Scum stats: 400 hand-numbered copies on white vinyl with screened covers that look strangley familiar...(RK)
(Jonny Cat Records)
The Sunday Sinners s/t CD-R
The Sunday Sinners are four cute girls and one lucky guy from Montreal who do the Detroit Cobras thing more convincingly than the Detroit Cobras. Like the Cobras, Iím guessing most of the songs here are covers, but I could be wrong. I had the pleasure of catching these ladies live in Montreal recently and their brand of mid-tempo 60s soul/rínír mixed with a bit of country twang made for an enjoyable, laid back night. Jenna (ex-Del-Gators) plays guitar and sings and the galís got a voice that most ladies would kill for. The whole band sounds great thanks to the ultra clean production and Work With Me Annieís (ex-Les Sexareenos) farfisa work deserves a special mention for providing some extra guts to these six songs. Head smashing p-rock this ainít, but itís the perfect record if youíre in the mood to crack open a beer, sit on the porch and relax. 10Ē vinyl supposedly forthcoming on Alien Snatch. (JG)
(self-releaed // www.thesundaysinners.com)
Swing Ding Amigos "The Mongolita Chronicles" CD
Three piece outfit hailing from the desert land of Tucson, Arizona, where I imagine there ain't too much happenin'.I had my reservations going in, and it's pretty rawk-ish affair, but the sub-two minute blasts of songs fly by quick enough so you don't get any on you. Reminiscent of RFTC if they dropped the horn section and replaced it with a stoner rock fetish (and not Electric Wizard style plod-stoner, but heavy fuzz moving stoner like early Fu Manchu or Unida or Beaver). Best song title: "They Raped Hades". Worst song title: either "Gargamel" or "The Smurf", pick one. Twenty-two tracks in all, taking up somewhere just over a half-hour, with that weirdo-desert vibe poured all over them and garnished with some humor and Spanish. This would've fit in perfectly on Man's Ruin, so that should tell you whether you'll be needing to buy this.(RK)
(Rock'n'Roll Purgatory // www.rocknrollpurgatory.com)
Tar Babies "Face the Music/Respect Your Nightmares" CD
When I was younger and even dumber and living in the college dorms, my pal Matt and I really enjoyed bumming people out. When a dorm room in the next building caught fire, I blasted "Burning Down the House" and "Light My Fire" out the window as loud as my boombox would go (not very loud, but loud enough to get the job done). When the long winter was finally over and a crowd of patchoili douchebags were finally able to hackysack and lie out in the sun, Matt blasted the Tar Babies out the window until people finally stopped using that side of the building entirely. You see, collegiate hippies fucking DESPISE the Tar Babies. We tested Die Kreuzen, we tried the Pagans and Minor Threat and many others, but nothing worked nearly as well as the Tar Babies. You might want to keep this in mind, because this very well could come in handy. The Tar Babies were already somewhat of a Wisconsin legend at that point, but I could count on one hand the times I've heard them mentioned over the last decade or so. Too bad - the early hardcore tracks on here pull no punches and deliver a gut-busting amount of bassy thrust and screechy bad attitude. The later tracks veer into punkfunk territory (veer? The LIVE there, baby), and while I have an acute case of Funk Aversion, it works in framework of the (short-lived) anything-goes just-post-hardcore period. True artistes realized that torrid, straight-ahead 4/4 was more than a little limiting, so off into metal, polka, funk and punktry they went. If anyone tried to pull off this shit today, I'd kill 'em. As it stands, it's a hippy scattering punkfunk-core masterpiece. And Matt? Two kids, owns a few chiropractic clinics around Chicago. Still wears his black leather jacket. If you see him, tell him I have a CDR for him. (TK)
(Lexicon Devil // firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tokyo Electron "Will Put a Charge in You" 7"
Dare I say I like this one better than the SSLD single from last year? I think it may be true. As good as the first was, I think this one might have the more memorable songs. "Innocent" is as raw as the previous single, some straight pummel-chorus-pummel action on which Ryan really sounds a lot like a young Danzig. The other two tracks here (the title cut and "The Burn in Hell") are the really real deal though. As upbeat as this guy gets. Contagious. Dancefloor hits for epileptics. "Put A Charge In You" is just monstrous, and the best thing Ryan's released under the TE moniker yet. Another must-have, and there's a third single upcoming on Big Black Hole Records, supposedly soon. Recent live shows have been rumored to be incredible as well. I sincerely hope Ryan keeps going with this band, at least long enough for an LP. Scum stats: 500 pressed, 100 of which are on clear vinyl. Also, nine test pressings were released with alternate cover.(RK)
Fuck, it'd be damn near impossible for this to surpass the debut EP; that was as close to a perfect single as I've heard in the last few years. All four songs were great, and all of 'em shed light on different aspects of the "project" (not really a band, though it appears there's a bit of touring coming up soon, so who knows?), further strengthening the whole. This is the same basic sound, same basic tunes, same basic quality, same basic everything, but it's not quite the face-kick the first one was. That doesn't mean it isn't great (it's at least close) or that you shouldn't buy it (you should, and this time, you can actually locate it), because Ryan is one of the elite Reatards/Persuaders/Oblivians-styled songwriters, and if you like the aforementioned, it certainly doesn't get much better than Tokyo Electron. (TK)
(Shattered Records // www.geocities.com/shatteredrecs)
Tractor Sex Fatality "Live it Down" EP
These dudes knocked us dead in Buffalo at the Pain in the Big Neck blowout last year, and this is their first release since their self-done debut EP. TSF lay down a unique sort pummel, referencing Midwestern post-hardcore abrasiveness, Flipper-ish throb, and a general Monoshock-like Stooges-as-a-launching-point intensity, all with a shit-hot drummer and out of control live show. The title song possesses a brutal groove that rampages like a gorilla on meth, "pl Toenails" has a sax line snaking its way through the havoc, and "Cagematch" is head-on Unsanity, with double tracked vocals and a genuine sense of menace. Any of these four tracks would have early-Nineties Hazelmyer fondling a handgun lovingly as he inked them for the next "Dope, Guns, and Fucking..." installment. After repeated listening it does appear that I have beef with the recording quality a bit. It sounds somewhat muted/muffled, but I'm not sure if it's just me expecting the live-show juggernaut I heard last year perfectly replicated on vinyl or if it's a mastering problem. Either way, it's a minor gripe that is easily corrected by turning the volume way the hell up, and shouldn't deter you in any way from purchasing this fine, fine record from a band whose LP (stunningly titled "Black Magic, White Pussy") I anxiously await. Check 'em out on the West Coast with The Blowtops real soon. (RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
Tragicz 7" EP
Music for Haters Vol. 7 is what we have here, and I'm gonna hate all over it. Run-of-the-mill KBD-style riffery from some (I'm guessing) Italian kids. Production is pretty clean, the guitars sound generic, no tricks, no surprises, surefire boredom. Even the mandatory boob tube track ("Television Slave") fails to impress, and they cover "I Rock, I Ran" about three years too late. Not even mediocre. Scum stats: 300 pressed.(RK)
(Hate Records // www.haterecords.com)
Turbonegro "Small Feces" 3XCD Box
I know, I know, Turbonegro are a joke band, blah, blah, whatever. Despite what they've become, I'm still a ferocious supporter of this bands incredible earlier days (up to and on occasion including 'Apocalypse Dudes') when they were still a rough hardcore band, more Poison Idea than big rock action, which they stopped being once Pal (for the first time) and Bingo left the band, and Euroboy led them down the trail of hot licks and homo-glam. I will save the rest for a future essay, but if you're judging this band on 'Scandanavian Leather', the just-released (and pretty terrible) "Party Animals', or even 'Apocalypse Dudes', you're missing out. Listen to 'Ass Cobra' or their under-rated and quite amazing debut LP 'Hot Cars and Spent Contraceptives' and you'll see what I'm talking about. Anyway, this long promised three disc box is an odds and sods collection of out of print material, covers, comp tracks, and unreleased/lost cuts from the vaults almost all of which are from the incendiary early days. Of note are the first many of us have heard of their impossible to find first two records on the Straitjacket label, the legendary "Computech" cassette tracks, lost tracks from the Stierkampf sessions, every early (pre-Apocalypse Dudes) B-Side and comp appearance, including covers of Fear, Kjott, Poison Idea, Roky, Leather Nun, Ebba Gron, Anal Babes, Cockney Rejects, and lots more, plus all the stuff from their collaboration with Eugene Chadbourne. 42 tracks total plus a multimedia disc of old interviews, press clippings, and TV appearances. Worthwhile for any fan of the glory days, and the two booklets worth of liners, history, and bios make for great reading, but the unreleased stuff found here is pretty underwhelming for the most part. They really were a fantastic band when their black humor was pointed like a gun at the heads of the kids and the world, instead of being used to suck them into buying jean jackets as it is now. What the fuck. I still say 'Ass Cobra' kills. (RK)
(Bitzcore Records // www.bitzcore.de )
Turpentine Brothers "We Donít Care About Your Good Times" LP/CD
Since I got two copies of this pup sent to me, one week after the next, I figure these folks really want to know my opinion. When I looked at the CD and saw the label it was on, I was prepared to be bored. On the whole, Alive Records suck. They peddle in updated rock clichť and little more. The CD cover seemed to confirm that. I did the obligatory reviewer track skipping and my 10 seconds with each track delayed my giving this a full listen. So this afternoon, I put it on preparing to be bored and I am surprised: I hear a good song with vocals that have the right amount of Iggyisms, a loud drummer, and an organ that is wedged somewhere between the Lyres and Deep Purple. As the CD progresses, I am reminded of late 70s Detroit or Cleveland and even 70s/80s Aussie stuff. None of this is as good as the best those places had to offer, but a few songs here would have rated second or third tier, which is not a bad place to be. Come song 7 and this thing starts to drag. It is not that the songs have changed too much, but that it all seems so easy, so well put together. I do not hear anything that challenges me. The Turpentine Brothers become just another good rock and roll band in a world full of a lot of good rock and roll bands, many of them yanking on some other nostalgia string. So, yeah, this is good and all, and I might listen to the first couple tracks, but there is nothing here beckoning me further.(SSORIANO)
This is the one Alive release I actually paid for, mostly because the garage crowd was freakin' and shit, but I don't really like this, either. It has all the parts in place - post-'bliv blooze gayrage, a little organ, kinda rough and reckless yet song-oriented...but the singer's Cartwright affection is often so vexing that I have to skip the tune. I took a break from it for a month or so, and I do have to admit that I'm liking it more right now (typing this baby up) than I did previously. It just pales next to the Deadly Snakes or Reigning Sound, you know? They're from Beantown or thereabouts, and Konks members swear by the live show, so maybe that's where the goods lie? (TK)
(Alive // www.alive-totalenergy.com)
V/A ďArizona IncestĒ CD-R
This is like an ugly kid brother, Arizona version of the ĎSympathetic Sounds ofÖí type comp and the titleís quite apt, as it appears that the nine guys pictured on the back make up most, if not all, of the six bands present. On the punk side of things, Destruction Unit and Tokyo Electron both contribute a demo version of a previously released track and one new one. The new DU track is a killer called ĎThe Fools Will Danceí which owes a tip of the hat to Lost Soundsí ĎBetter Than Somethingsí and itís the best song on the comp. The exclusive Tokyo Electron track, ĎKilliní, is choice as well. The Wongs have a live version of ĎI Canít Waití and one unreleased cut, ĎNothin To Meí which is OK. The Sexual Slurs (unheard of to me) do two decent songs in the Persuaders/Kajun SS vein. On the synth-punk/Screamers side of things, there are two songs each from Digital Leather and Mere Mortals. Three of the four showed up on last yearís series of CD-Rs on Fatal Seduction, and are strong tracks. Better than most comps, if youíre a fan of any of the aforementioned youíd be wise to track this down. (JG)
(email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)
V/A The Intelligence vs. Karate Party / Coachwhips split 7Ē
If youíre confused about the title, during a break in recording the A Frames album, Lars and Min got Woodhouse to play drums and they recorded one Intelligence song (ďDating CopsĒ which Iíve played at least 30 times in the past week) and made up two on the spot. Not since the A-side of the ĎGirlfriends and Boyfriendsí 7Ē have they sounded this loud, frantic and rhythmically hypnotic. The two off the cuff songs are less thought out, but still pleasantly hump my ears and make me drool for more. The Coachwhips side ainít bad either. Both songs are hits from the Woodhouse sessions that match the best songs on their most recent (and last?) long player. Big high fives to Omnibus for pressing this thing on hockey puck thick vinyl with nice artwork on a hefty cardboard sleeve. This is how you do a record. (JG)
(Omnibus Records // www.omnibusrecords.com)
V/A "Killed #1" 7" EP
Somewhat intriguing EP from a new Parisian label, that features three French bands offering two songs apiece. The Bad Fuckers from Lyon are the worst of the bunch, serving up a tepid cup of "Surf Soup" and one other dull garage original. The bafflingly named John Deere Diamonds from Macon provide some pretty aggro scuzziness over their duo of tracks. The winners of this three-way happen to be Billy Surf & the Voodoo Stars out of Paris, believe it or not, on the basis of the best song on this EP, "I Said Yeah", a sublime few moments of down and dirty scum-thuggery. If these guys get themselves a new band name people might start paying attention. This one's 50/50 kids, but some of you more inquisitive Francophiles might want to seek it out. No pressing info, but the label's next release is by a band called Flytrap who are described as "buzz guitar and hell bongos". What?(RK)
(Killed by an Axe Records // email@example.com)
V/A ďLove Killed My BrainĒ 7Ē
Aww. Isnít this sweet? Mr. Nasty Product has gone soft and put out a four band split of slow love songs. The Fatals do ďMy Darling & the WindĒ, which is a complete change of pace from their usual shit-fi scorchers, but it works. This oh-so-lovely song should silence those claiming that these guys need to rely on in-the-red scuzziness to get the job done. Next, The Sonic Chicken 4 do a song simply titled ďBalladĒ which proves that they have a Kinks record or two in their collection. I do a little dance every time I hear it, so it gets my vote of approval. On the flip, GoGoMan & The Players do ďItís You BabyĒ, a rather forgettable track and Kung-Fu Escalator contribute ďLonely HeartĒ which starts out slow but redeems itself with a noisy ending. This is worth it for the A-side alone. PS - Photocopied sleeves suck. (JG)
Love themed comp from the recently burgeoning scene in Southern France. The Fatals open it up with "My Darling & the Wind", which is actually the bonus track on the P.Trash singles comp CD as well. It's a good tune, but hardly the best of this bunch. The Sonic Chicken 4, whose single I wasn't at all fond of, actually might take the prize with a track simply titled "Ballad". Boy/girl vocals wrap up a sweet little number on which they aren't scared to let the fuzz-guitar freak flag fly for just the right amount of time. QUite good. On the flip, the Go Go Players do a decent Elevators/Texas-psych trip, and Kung Fu Escalator close the EP out by breaking off a monster chunk of Birthday Party-like noise that makes me drool for their upcoming 10" on Yakisakana even more. This is a good one as far as comp EPs go, and makes for great afternoon listening! Scum stats: 500 pressed, which is actually a lot for this label.(RK)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)
V/A "Salvo of 24 Gunshots: A Tribute to Gun Club" 2XLP
Tributes are no big deal to me and here's why: They're unnecessary and as a rule, crap. Being that this trib is 2 full LPs you can bet there are some duds and outright stinkers on here and you will win the bet and maybe take the winnings and go buy that Epicycle reissue. The typical champs (Fatals, Andy G. & the Roller Kings, a couple more) turn in the more decent or tolerable covers but a decent or tolerable cover still takes a backseat to just about anything else I can think of. Pass. (EL)
First of all I must say this is a very nice package, aesthetically speaking, and it was obviously done out of a love for the band. Nut as with all tribute comps it leaves something to be desired in both the consistency and the reason-for-existing departments. There are good tracks on here by them thar Nasty Product bands (Sonic Chicken 4, Fatals, Go Go Players), plus Andy G and the Roller Kings, Magnetix, and the Rebel, but that's all that really yanked my crank. This might have been okay as a single, but there aren't enough good songs on here to justify an entire LP, let alone two of them.(SB)
(Unrecording Recordings // www.unrecordingrecordings.com)
V/A "Soul Fire: The Majestic Collection" 2XCD
Way back when I was a wee punk lad, every respectable punker had a James Brown record in his or her collection. This was at a time when punks liked to dance, something that put them in opposition to the longhaired dirtbags who hated punk as much as they loathed disco. It was all the same to these hairy losers and punks and disco dudes were all fags, as far as they were concerned. Whatever. Dumbshits didn't realize that girls like guys who can dance and will join them on the dance floor. So after listening to the Dead Boys or the Stooges, someone would throw on a James Brown record and the staggering would morph to dancing, or some kind of stagger-fall on each other dance. Then hardcore came and the only dancing that was permitted was the kind that went around in a circle and that was more of a contact sport than anything else. It was also nearly all male and those of us who wanted to dance with girls to funky stuff were once again considered fags. Some time in the early 90s, a segment of the Sacramento punk scene started throwing dance parties. We would spend all week digging for funky records and on Friday or Saturday night a bunch of us would gather at an apartment, basement or practice space and spin records til morning, dancing with girls and boys. Fuck it. It was the 90s and punks could dance with whomever they wanted to. Our dance parties were as DIY as the punk shows we were playing and putting on. It was low budget and cobbled together and raw and loud and a hell of lot of fun. From the beginnings of my punk career or whatever the hell it is, punk and funk have always been linked together (and not in that horrid Chili Peppers kinda way). So I think nothing of throwing on a funk record when punkers are over. My record digging has always had funk records as a goal. I've got hundreds of them, hell, maybe thousands. I don't know. And when KBD-style comps of rare funk records started coming out, I would snatch them up (and become disappointed with many). But one thing I longed for was contemporary funk. I figured that there should be at least a few people playing real, raw funk somewhere. I mean there are KBD bands in punk. Why not gritty funk bands? Then I stumbled upon the Desco label. Out of New York, Desco put out a handful of great funk & afrobeat albums in the late 90s and then folded. In its wake Soul Fire rose. It was 2000 and with a 4 track, Phillip Lehman started recording his friends playing raw funk and afrobeat. Lehman put out 45s and LPs of the stuff, some of it the best funk ever made, stuff that stands up there with the JBs, the Meters and other legends (at least in quality, not in pioneering). Last year, Lehman kicked the label in, and too bad. But as Desco went and Soul Fire came, Soul Fire goes and Truth & Soul arrives. And what does T&S do? Compile two CDs worth of some of the prime Soul Fire tracks, as well as a bunch of tasty unreleased gems. There is the stellar roots funk of Lee Fields, the sinister, minimalism of JD & The Evil's Dynamite Band, the intense afrobeat of Bama & Family, the latin funk of the Bronx River Parkway, as well as killer unreleased stuff by The Fabulous Three, Nightbird, El Michels Affair and others. All of it recorded with that warm analog sound you hear on early 70s funk classics and with a rawness that shuns commercialism. This is a great collection and well worth a place in anyone's collection. (SSORIANO)
(Truth & Soul // www.truthandsoulrecords.com)
V/A Spits/Triggers split 7"
Two songs each. The Spits do one monster-fuzz number that's pretty good, and one programmed-drums mish-mash track that's pretty unessential, even if it's titled "Terrorist Attack". I think The Triggers actually outdo The Spits on this one. "No Bullshit" is brash all-out punk, kinda like The Tyrades minus the art-shit leanings, and "Kill Your Ego" is a real cool moody garage-punk number. The Triggers side of this has been played repeatedly here at TB HQ, and would stand well on it's own. The Spits stuff isn't all that special, unless you're a huge fan. (RK)
(Puke Records // PO Box 99456, Emeryville, CA 94662)
V/A "Static Disaster: The UK In the Red Records Sampler" CD
A representative collection of tracks from one of the most reliable and honest indie labels of the last decade or so, geared at getting the burgeoning UK garage crowd to look past their (now waning) White Stripes fever and get a grip on some of the finest truly underground rock available. Everyone's here, from Volt to Speedball Baby over twenty-seven tracks, complete with informative song-by-song insight from Larry Hardy (the story of recording the first Horrors LP is particularly amusing). One song per band, mainly consisting of "hits" off of LPs and nothing too obscure (band or song-wise). I own a near-complete run of ITR releases, and I can't complain about any of the selections. It makes a perfect introduction for neophytes, and is probably an accurate soundtrack of what many of us have been listening to over the past years. There are even some morsels for us obsessives, including an alternate version of Reigning Sound's "Drowning", a track from the upcoming Intelligence LP, a cover of "I'm A Bug" from The Hospitals demo, an unreleased Broke Review track, and a JSBX Peel Session medley. All children, when reaching high school age or so, should be force fed this sampler for at least a month straight. If this doesn't turn them on, then let Hot Topic and American Idol have 'em. Also includes liners by our pal, the reclusive and elusive Phil Honululu. I'm assuming this is going to available domestically and not just overseas.(RK)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)
V/A ďZine: WhiteĒ 8.5Ē
A fucking beautiful record this is. Martin from The Sores robbed a bank (or pimped himself out, I canít remember which) and got four of his favourite bands to contribute a track to a totally fucking sweet looking, square, 8.5Ē record pressed on thick white vinyl. First up are The Lamps with ĎNow That Iím Deadí an absolutely killer, hypnotic blast that tops anything off of their recent debut, which is saying quite a bit if youíve heard that beast of a record. The overblown, trashed-out production suits Montyís knuckle dragging growl an awful lot better than the recording on the full length. This shit is brutal. Woodhouse needs to record these guys ASAP. I feel sorry for the other bands having to compete with The Lamps, but both Ladies Night and Tractor Sex Fatality manage to hold their own. Ladies Night are part of the new crop of good bands coming out of Vancouver (finally!) and sound like a slower version of The Blacks with a shitload of reverb on the vocals. Levon from Das Pussyhound sings/screams and the kidís got a set of pipes thatíll kick yer arse or charm your pants off depending on which way you fly your flag. Shit disturbers TSF crank out an enjoyable song that I like just as much as their recent Big Neck single. Itís a little less noisy and chaotic than usual, but good stuff nonetheless. Lastly, Hotel Pistol strikes out with a Kyuss-esque jam that wouldnít be so bad except the vocals completely suck. Some of you sludge loving fucks might dig, but I doubt it. Ah shucks, three outta four ainít bad. Also comes with a bare bones ďzineĒ most notable for its excellent Lamps interview. (JG)
(Borox Records PO Box 1581 Davis, CA 95617 // www.myspace.com/zinewhite)
The Westen Dark "So Sad, Well?" 7"
Pretty bad Bay Area Southern/Aussie rock worship played by some extras from "Almost Famous". Big belt buckle rocking aside (and there are two on display on the cover: one brandishing a "Sweet Leaf" and the other with the ELO logo), these guys/girl are tapping a vein that the Swedes sucked dry years ago (and to better effect, which doesn't say much) and don't seem to give a damn. They even cover Radio Birdman, the most hopelessly over-rated Aussie outfit of all time, a vehicle The Hellacopters ran out of gas and abandoned sometime around their second LP. The vintage clothing leaves a bad taste in your mouth whether you want to admit it or not, and the lyric sheet only makes their original tune seem even worse by bringing to light its junior-high poetry-as-lyrics shortcomings. File under "Extremely Shitty". Scum stats: thankfully only 300 of these made it into the world, on white vinyl.(RK)
The Willowz "Talk in Circles" CD
Christ, I just don't know about this band... they're from Hollywood (or somewhere 'round those parts), got a demo track on "Eternal Sunshine," and seem to have an enormous marketing squad behind them. A big deal is made about them being 21 or whatever...big whoop. For some reason, Contaminated is set to do a single by 'em. I just don't understand any of this hoo-hah. Apparently, they got on the "Eternal Sunshine" soundtrack because the White Stripes turned 'em down, so the director dug for a near-simulacra...the Willowz. I heard their demo, which was lo-fi enough to sound sorta garagey or whatever, but this is a huge, expensive presentation, and it reminds me more of Jet, Von Bondies or the White Stripes (but not as good) - alternative garage. A few of the songs are alright, like the Red Aunts-y "We Live on Your Street." Whoop! (TK)
(Sympathy for the Record Industry // www.sympathyrecords.com)
The W.I.N.K.S. "Too Hot To Be This Cool" LP/CD
Apparently W.I.N.K.S is an acronym for Women In Night Kissing Satan. Dunno if it was Satan or not, but these gals likely "kissed" someone in order to get a record deal judging from the by-the- numbers "punkrock" sounds of this CD. Perhaps a more fitting name for them would have been the W.E.B.S.S: Women Entertainers Boring Steve Senseless.(SB)
(Rockin Bones // www.rockinbones.it)
(Super Secret Records // www.supersecretrecords.com)
Enid Hi-Fashion Glamour Doll & Antoinette: The Sympathy Doll
Under the name Necessaries Toy Foundation, the record label Sympathy for the Record Industry is now producing toy dolls. For the music geek a vinyl doll might as well be a worthless piece of plastic; however Sympathy has long been putting out vinyl that has no value as anything but landfill. That Long Gone John has finally taken the plunge into toys can only be good news, as it means that perhaps the venture will be a huge failure and bankrupt him and his label and this spare us from the shit-like Sympathy roster. Oh yes, he has released some good records but the amount of pure garbage that sports a Sympathy imprint makes the keepers statistically nonexistent as a black grain of sand on a white beach. These two dolls are "exclusively designed" and marketed as some kind of future collectable. The Enid doll is of the main character from the movie Ghost World and comes with such risquť Gen-X obsessions as a "teen bondage mask" and a "futuristic ray-gun." The Antoinette doll is a rip off of the Margaret Keane big eyed kids but with an LA teen runaway twist. Gosh I am scandalized. According to the press release announcing the dolls... yes, I am reviewing these based on the press release. No I am not looking at one. I've wasted plenty of money hoping that the next Sympathy record will be a good one. I am not going to purchase a couple fucking dolls....According to the press release announcing the dolls, Antoinette "is a driving force at Sympathy and she is the person that selects most of the bands which explains the penchant toward girl bands." It also gives us insight into why Sympathy churns out so much crap. A fucking doll is the A&R person for the fucking label? Why the fuck didn't you reveal that before I pissed away my hard earned cash of fucking Cynics, Chubbies, and Snailboy 7"s? Or is this doll just a handy foil, a way for Long Gone John to shuttle the blame for creating the single worst record label in the history of rock and roll. Really, Sympathy has long lasted on the few - very few - good record it has had the luck to stumble into and the utter stupidity of its die hard fans. With any luck they will wake up and see that these dolls just represent another cynical attempt by Sympathy to steal their fans cash and no one will buy another product from these carneys again. Yeah, sure, that is doubtful; but we can dream. We can dream!(SSORIANO)
(Necessaries Toy Foundation, a Division of SFTRI // www.necessariestoyfoundation.com)
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